How to Cook a Turkey Thigh

Written by kasey hargan
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How to Cook a Turkey Thigh
Baking is an effective method for cooking a turkey thigh. (oven temperature control in red image by laurent dambies from

Turkey is a common substitute for higher-fat red meats and has become a diet staple for many people. Turkey sausage, bacon and ground turkey are offered in supermarkets everywhere. The labels on packages of turkey thighs, in particular, often advise home cooks to grill the meat. But the size and thickness of turkey thighs, when compared with chicken thighs, may make modifying the recipes a tricky process. Baking and grilling are two simple methods that produce flavourful and juicy turkey thighs.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Heavy-duty aluminium foil
  • Glass or ceramic baking dish with tight-fitting cover
  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp dill weed
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup red cooking wine

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  1. 1

    Preheat oven to 204 degrees C. You can use fresh turkey, but If you only have frozen turkey, thaw meat before cooking. Spray the insides of both the baking dish and its lid with non-stick cooking spray. Pour 1/2 cup of red cooking wine into the baking dish.

  2. 2

    Do not remove skin from turkey thigh or debone it. The skin and bone impart much flavour during the baking process and help to keep the meat moist. Mix the spices with the olive oil to make a paste, and rub the mixture on all sides of the turkey thigh.

  3. 3

    Lay turkey thigh skin side down in the cooking wine. The skin will keep the thigh elevated out of the wine as it bakes. The wine, along with any juice shed by the turkey skin, will provide the added dimension of steam to keep the thigh moist during baking.

  4. 4

    Roast turkey thigh for 40 minutes at 204 degrees C. Reduce heat to 148 degrees C and cook for another 20 minutes. Turn oven off and let it cool down for about another 10 minutes. Turkey thigh will be ready. Lift thigh away from the skin, leaving skin behind in the baking dish, before serving.

  1. 1

    Preheat gas grill to 176 degrees C. If using charcoal, follow instructions on bag. If you have frozen turkey, thaw before cooking. Using heavy-duty aluminium foil, make a double-thick sheet of about 14 inches squared. Spray foil square with non-stick cooking spray. Turn edges of foil up to make a temporary "pan." Pour the 1/2 cup of red cooking wine into this makeshift pan.

  2. 2

    Do not remove skin from the turkey thigh or debone it. Mix the spices with the olive oil to make a paste and rub mixture all over turkey thigh.

  3. 3

    Lay turkey thigh skin side down in the cooking wine. Bring all four sides of the foil up over thigh and crimp them together to enclose the meat in a dome shape. Roll foil down toward thigh, sealing it tightly.

  4. 4

    Place foil packet on grill rack and close lid. Cook for about 25 minutes. Using tongs or oven gloves, turn the thigh over. Cook for another 20 minutes. Remove from grill and set on paper plate to cool for 10 minutes. Turkey thigh will be ready. Turn the foil packet so that the crimped and folded edges face up. Carefully peel open, being mindful of steam. Lift thigh out with forks or tongs, remove skin and serve.

Tips and warnings

  • Wear oven gloves or use pot holders when handling hot dishes or foil.
  • The thermodynamics of ovens and grills are different. Intense heat in a small enclosed space will mean shorter cooking times when using a grill.
  • Turning the turkey thigh over when grilling will accomplish the basting step without having to disturb the foil packet.
  • No basting is necessary when baking. Moisture from the steam build-up will collect in the lid of the baking dish and drip down, creating a constant basting environment.
  • The cool-down period at the end allows the steam to settle out of the turkey, trapping the juices in.
  • Do not mistake dill seed for dill weed.

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